Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Not exactly sunny today and I don't mean the weather

Holy crap. This story has me on the verge of tears this morning. This isn't a blog I normally read, but one that I do, Whoorl, linked to this story. Obviously I'm not the praying type, but if you are, feel free to add this little red-headed punkin' to your list. I'm fond of the saying "Two hands working can do more than a thousand hands praying", so I donated. Feel free to do that, too. : )

Also, on the way to work this morning, I heard an interview on NPR with a young woman (35, that's young to me!), Jessica Queller, who lost her mother to ovarian cancer. She (the daughter) took a genetic test (BRCA) to determine if she had the breast cancer gene mutation. It came back positive, which meant that she had a 90% likelihood of developing breast cancer at some point. She was single, wanted to get married and have a child, and yet, at that young age she took the drastic step of having a double-mastectomy as the only way to prevent the disease. She will also have her ovaries removed, but has opted to wait until the age of 40 so that she can have a biological child first.

Breast cancer runs in my family big-time. At least one of my grandmother's had it, and one of my sisters, Jodi, is already a two-time breast cancer survivor. Hearing this story this morning got me thinking: do I want to know if I have the breast-cancer gene mutation? If I take this test and it comes back positive, what would I do? Would I live my life differently? Would I grab David and Anna and a handful of credit cards and go travel the world? Would I take the drastic step of having a double mastectomy? My daughter is only 7 (although as Lala pointed out, once you're a mother it doesn't matter how young or old your kids are, you can't imagine leaving them).

Jessica Queller (the gal who was interviewed this morning) has written a book about her decision and experience. I'm going to read it, and I'm also going to schedule this gene-test. I don't want to know, but I do.

What about you? Would you want to know if you have the gene? If so, what would you do about it?


Jacki said...

I would want to know. It doesnt mean that you are neccisarily going to die from it... look at my mom. Plus, if I KNEW I had a 90% chance of getting breast cancer I would remove the "teets" right away. Who needs em?! I know Tim loves me for me... not my "teets"... well, because currently they hang down past my rib cage... thats how I know.

jpogue said...

Why would you live your life differently? The only way it changed me is that I do feel so very lucky. Lucky to have my wonderful kids and grandkids and my other family members, lucky to live in the US where we are so very fortunate, just damn lucky. Breast cancer is SO easy to survive now that unless you've diagnosed at stage 4, you don't even need to panic. I have to admit, while the bad part is that clothes just don't look the same on you when you've had 'em cut off, there is a HUGE sense of freedom in not having to wear a bra! I DO love that and use my fakes when I want to look nice in clothes. Fact is, I have the girls sitting on the counter right now so I remember to wash them before I leave for the cruise on Saturday! And thankfully as you all know, Ival would love me even if I had half my head removed!

Dee said...

If a person has the gene, it doesn't necessarily mean one would have cancer, would it? What are the odds? Your Grandma had it at about 72, had a mastectomy and no chemo, or anything and never had a recurrance. I think if you pay attention to your body, you will know.

jpogue said...

HEY! I just discovered that these new ones I traveled to Canada for float! I guess if I accidently lost one while swimming I could easily find it!

jpogue said...

Oh, one thing I forgot that it did change for me. I scheduled a historectomy and had EVERYTHING taken out that I didn't need so that if I do have another reccurance, it won't spread to any other girl parts. I have to admit, that gives me a HUGE sense of freedom too! Heck, I'm just a free and lucky girl!

Linda, aka "Lala" said...

As I said this morning, I was told by my doctor that it's probably not a matter of IF, but WHEN. So I asked to have things removed that I don't need, and the doctor said "Nope, can't do that unless there is a problem with them."
I guess I have to get cancer first, then I can have things removed. In addition, no insurance company would pay to have ANYTHING removed unless there is a problem, so in my mind, removal before the fact is simply not an option.

But if I could, sure, I'd have my boobies removed as a precaution, and have the reconstructive surgery. But it's not an option, unless I win the lottery.
So I'm alert, and pay attention, and hopefully, that will work just fine.

kate said...

Lala, I didn't mention that because I wasn't sure if that was "out in the open".

When a mastectomy is precautionary only, it's called "prophylactic mastectomy". It is done; you absolutely DO NOT have to wait and get cancer first.

I don't know why your doctor wouldn't discuss it with you, although you probably freaked her shit out when you mentioned having your uterus, appendix, tonsils, second kidney and anything else you "didn't need" removed so that you could sail around the world. She probably thought "just smile and nod and get this lunatic out of my office"! ;) Perhaps if you'd had that test (BRCA) showing whether you are positive or not she would have taken you more seriously.

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Dee said...

So, what were you going to do, sell that other kidney to finance the trip? geeeeeze